Birmingham City’s prospective buyers have reportedly moved a step closer to completing the takeover of the club after making a ‘hefty down payment.’
Blues are on the brink of a takeover by a consortium led by the former Argentina striker Maxi Lopez and local businessman Paul Richardson. Richardson was at St Andrew’s last Tuesday morning (19 July), and he confirmed to the media that contracts over a deal have been exchanged and a deposit was paid.
The Daily Mirror has now reported that Richardson and Lopez paid a £1.5million deposit in July for the club’s largest individual shareholder Vong Pech’s 21.64% stake. The report states that the ‘deal is poised to go ahead pending EFL approval after Richardson provided lawyers with the funds ahead of Monday’s agreed August 1 date’.
The deal reportedly includes payments totalling £26.5m to complete ‘stage one’ of the takeover - with a further £10m promotion bonus if Bluesreach the Premier League by 2026.
Who are Lopez and Richardson?
Paul Richardson is a businessman. He is the owner of the Hera Clothing brand, and an ex-director of Gymshark. He’s also a big Blues supporter. The consortium is also believed to include Argentine businessman Christian Codoma. He is the owner of Maxco Capital in London and runs Global Stars Management in Hong Kong - and this is how Lopez is connected.
Maxi Lopez is of course a well known ex-Argentine international who played for the likes of Barcelona, AC Milan and Sampdoria.
Lopez made 475 appearances throughout his career, although he never represented his national team at senior level.
After an impressive career, playing for some of Europe’s top clubs, Lopez ventured into the business world, and partnered with Codoma on Maxco Capital.
López was married to Argentine model Wanda Nara from 2008 to 2013. The couple have three sons.
The former Barcelona forward is also said to be close friends with fellow countryman Lionel Messi. López was signed by Barcelona while Messi was establishing himself in the first team.
What have fans said about the consortium?
Craig Courtney, a host on the Tilton Talk Show podcast, met Richardson and Lopez on the final day of the Championship season, with both businessmen attending the game against Cardiff.
Craig said: “I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Richardson and Maxi Lopez at the last game of the season, and Paul was really honest and open and he was very approachable.
“There were a lot of people going up to him saying ‘what’s going on’?
“He couldn’t say too much, but he’s a Blues fan and a Brummie and those are some of the things fans have been crying out for, but again we have to wait and see what happens.”
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